Nine years after Brown v. Board of Education in
1954, and only a year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a judge in the
Forsyth County Courthouse of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, wrenched
12-year-old Gene Cheek from the security of his mother’s devotion. Here is
a true story of love in a time afflicted by hatred, ignorance, and racism. At
its core, this is a frank account of a love affair between a white woman and a
black man that took mother from son and split a family forever.
In the early 1960s, the city of Winston-Salem struggled
under the strict edicts of segregation, setting the tone of division that would
plague Gene Cheek’s life. Raised by his alcoholic father and his earnestly
loving mother, Gene learned about the power of hatred and the strength of love.
Yet when his mother falls in love with Cornelius Tucker, an African American
man, and becomes pregnant with his child, their union is seen as morally and
lawfully unfit, forcing the family to choose between the infant and Gene. From
a distance of more than 40 years, Gene Cheek recounts a life of constant
struggle with his biological father. Briefly that tension dissolved with the
warm guidance of Cornelius Tucker—but that would soon end.
The Color of Love is Gene Cheek’s story told in
his singularly honest voice. Its sincerity and truth resonate with a plea for
tolerance—and the irrevocable nature of the decisions and emotions of modern
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